Angels are optimistic Josh Hamilton will be ready by opening day

Angels are optimistic Josh Hamilton will be ready by opening day
Angels slugger Josh Hamilton, right, shares some thoughts with new teammate Raul Ibanez during a spring workout last week in Tempe, Ariz. (Rick Scuteri / Associated Press)

TEMPE, Ariz. -- The Angels open the season March 31. Will Josh Hamilton be ready?

We're optimistic he will be," Manager Mike Scioscia said Wednesday.


Hamilton strained his left calf Tuesday. Scioscia confirmed the expected, that the left fielder would sit out "a minimum of a couple of weeks."

Hamilton had an MRI examination and the Angels have been told that the injury should heal on its own, ruling out the kind of severe strain that would require surgery.

"This thing has to heal on its own terms," Scioscia said. "We'll see where it leads."

Hamilton played 151 games last season, his highest total since 2008. If he cannot start the season in left field, J.B. Shuck probably would.

Hamilton, 32, batted .250 with 21 home runs and a .739 OPS last season, a disappointing first year of his five-year, $125-million contract with the Angels. In his final season with the Texas Rangers, he batted .285 with 43 home runs and a .930 OPS.

Hats off to C.J. Wilson

On the day after he was hit in the head by a line drive, C.J. Wilson said he had no interest in wearing the specially lined caps now available to protect pitchers.

"It's like wearing a bucket on your head," Wilson said.

The first such cap approved by Major League Baseball weighs 10 to 11 ounces, rather than the usual three or four. No pitcher has announced plans to wear the cap this season, and MLB has encouraged other manufacturers to design their versions, presumably lighter ones.

Wilson said he tried one of the available caps at a union meeting over the off-season.

"I'm trying to think of a polite way to say this: Literally, they're terrible," Wilson said. "They're a terrible design. They're cumbersome. It's impossible to pitch with one of those on."

Wilson was hit on the side of his head while pitching to Yorvit Torrealba in batting practice. He was bloodied but remained conscious and alert. He said he required no stitches, and he was cleared in a CT scan late Tuesday.

He said he expects to make his Cactus League debut Saturday as scheduled.

Twitter: @BillShaikin